Women, Conservation, and Natural Resource Use: A Case Study of Bwindi, Uganda
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In developing countries, men and women use and depend on natural resources in distinctly different ways. Women are predominantly the water-gatherers, the firewood-collectors, and the farmers, as well being the family-caretakers. Furthermore, women in developing countries often lack many basic rights such as land ownership, access to income, and access to education. Their health and wellbeing are inextricably linked to their dependence on natural resources. Their lives are connected to the natural environment such that deforestation or losing access to resources within a protected area negatively impact women living in that ecosystem in multiple unanticipated ways. Owing to the importance of natural resources in women’s daily lives, it becomes imperative for conservation activities in protected areas to consider gender. My Master’s Project, thus, sought to understand the consequences of protected area conservation on women’s lives. To do so, I conducted a qualitative case study in Bwindi, Uganda. I interviewed 36 women in 11 villages along the protected area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to understand their perceptions of conservation and to investigate the ways their needs and concerns could be more fully integrated into conservation management. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) is home to approximately half of the world’s mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei). BINP is one of Uganda’s most successful tourism locations and the Uganda Wildlife Authority which manages the park created a revenue-sharing program to distribute funds to park-bordering communities in order to encourage conservation value of the protected area. My study investigates and interprets what conservation looks like for local women living along the park border, in order to bear witness to their stories and determine the successes or failures of current conservation practices in Bwindi, Uganda. My results indicate a disconnect exists between the dominant conservation narrative promoting the conservation of the mountain gorilla and the value local women place on conservation. My study, furthermore, examines the claim of community-integrated conservation and the projection of global conservation values onto local people living beside a protected area.
CitationBlair, Alexandra (2014). Women, Conservation, and Natural Resource Use: A Case Study of Bwindi, Uganda. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8574.
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